Very unexpectedly, I was able to make a trip to Swaziland! It started with a simple email to see if they could use some help and the next thing I knew, I had a plane ticket and was leaving for 11 days!
Let me give you a little back story... Heart For Africa has an amazing group of artisans, the Khutsala Artisans. I have worked with them before, but mostly I did design work for them. But this trip was really different.
To plan for the trip, Kim, their Director of North American Sales, came and spent 4 days with me in North Carolina and we designed all of the pieces we wanted them to produce. We decided to teach them new skills so that everything could be made in Swaziland, not just assembled. They are even making their own SwaziMud beads, ceramic beads. They are beautiful!
Once I arrived, I had 5 1/2 work days to teach them the new skills (Intermediate skills!), and then they needed to produce over 1,000 pieces to fill orders. I have to admit, I was skeptical. But as I said, they are amazing! They rose to the challenge!
It was such a blessing to watch each woman find her area of skill and become proficient at it, in such a short time. We accomplished everything we hoped to do!
I hope to make one more trip back this year to help them refine and master their skills, so I need to get busy selling! Stay tuned... I'll tell you some more stories in the coming days!